C section ups risk of autoimmune disease
Recent research has shown that infants born by caesarean section have a narrower range of gut bacteria than those delivered naturally, potentially increasing their lifetime risk of autoimmune disease.
The study of 21 infants, born during the same week, showed that during the first year of life, babies born by caesarean had a narrower range of bacteria in their gut. C-section babies also took up to one year longer to gain an important group of bacteria, the Bacteroidetes, compared to babies born by vaginal delivery.
The research, published in the journal Gut in August 2013, was conducted by Dr Jakobsson and colleagues at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.
Before birth, babies have a sterile gut, free from bacteria. During delivery babies are first exposed to the ‘seeding’ bacteria which will colonise their digestive tract – these bacteria predominantly come from the birth canal, in the case of vaginal delivery, the skin, the surrounding environment and breast milk.